Tag: Christmas

Christmas Wars: Return of theology

My bottom line is this: The focus of the First Advent should be on Jesus humbly being born in the likeness of human flesh and that at second advent is in the near future when Jesus returns to make all things new. Rather, this season is marked by what I call the Christmas Wars.

Xmas controversy
Christian_Chi_RhoAs a child I remember being scolded out of the blue because I wrote ‘xmas’ on my paper. I was following in the evil pathway of removing Christ from Christmas. Being the reader (nerd) that I was, I looked it up. (Note, this was before the advent of wikipedia, so I had to use this thing called a card catalog and books.) What I found was this: The X was from the greek letter Xsi which is the first initial of Christ’s name, Xristos in Greek. X marked with another letter or part of the word was an appropriate abbreviation for Christ. There is no grand conspiracy to remove Christ from Christmas.

Mas controversy
Jesus died once for all sin. In doing research I found another interesting aspect: I don’t celebrate Mass. Mass is the liturgy surrounding the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharist views communion as becoming wholly the blood and body of Jesus. It’s a perpetual sacrifice. Hence, the symbol of the crucifix. While the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, it is through the resurrection that we’re saved. The Bible doesn’t teach a perpetual sacrifice but a single sacrifice at one point in time whereby the barrier between God and man is forever destroyed through the resurrection of Jesus. Communion then is a symbol where we proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns.

The First Advent
It is good to celebrate the First Advent. Why? Jesus demonstrated humility and a focus on people. My fear isn’t removing Christ from Christmas. My fear is not seeing Christ in Christians. Let’s be humble, friends. It’s what Jesus did.

The light of the World
It is good to celebrate Jesus as the light of the world. The real issue is whether we’ll accept by faith that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. Jesus died once for all sin, the just for the unjust. My concern isn’t removing Christ from Christmas. It’s removing Mass from Christ. Theology matters. We do not need to continually dip into a pool of grace to merit salvation. We need to simply accept God’s gift in Jesus whereby God lavishes his grace upon us! We don’t celebrate Mass, we celebrate a risen savior.

The bottom line:
As the Christmas wars heat up, again, let’s remember our theology. Ignorance is no excuse anymore as information is freely available and easier to access. The focus of the first advent should be on Jesus humbly being born in the likeness of human flesh and that at second advent is in the near future when Jesus returns to make all things new. Let us pray for and look to the Second Advent as we celebrate the humbleness of the first.

A Christmas Story Written By Friends

A long-long time ago on winter night, snow began to fall.
Through window cracks it fell and fell until it covered each wall.

Crisp, winter winds blew the snow into piles.
The swirling snow could be seen for miles.

Just when it looked like there was nowhere to run from this snow cloud in my house.
Behold I was scared for I nearly tripped on a mouse.

The poor little creature had come in from the cold
Along with his family ten thousandfold!

I stopped and I thought, “Do I take pity on them all?”
or do I throw them all out like little bouncing balls?

And so I grabbed their tails as they started to run,
and threw them out one by one.

Before they were all out the door in a row, one turned its head and said “why do humans hate we mice so?”
I chuckled and said “maybe because you’ve all eaten my cheese and cake and cookie dough.”

As the mice wandered off into the cold winter night,
I saw in the distance an unfamiliar light.

It’s glow was warm and it flickered and danced.
As the snow swirled around, I fell into its trance.

A man with a fiddle and a man with a bass, played Christmas music
at that yonder place.
The music that floated gently through the air, spoke of Christ’s wonder,
goodness and grace.

They sang a song of that blessed pair
No room in the inn, were left out in the night air.

The melody went on, it spoke of the fame
Of the prince who came to declare his Father’s name.

And who should appear but the mice I threw far from me.
Their voices sounding like a sweet symphony.

A lump grew in my throat as I looked down in the snow,
There is a lesson here that someone wants me to know.

So I took the scene in afresh and anew.
I paused to ponder like so few do.

“Mr. Mouse, you asked why humans hate you so.
It has something to do with snow.

For in a town, a long time ago,
was born our savior whom we must know.

He brings a future hope of all things new:
A lion with a lamb, and a man with such as you.”

And in this scene of wind, snow and music pleasant,
we remember the Savior as our greatest present.

And once more they lifted their music loud,
for a man named Jesus overcame sin’s shroud.

I said to the mouse “Our sin and hatred He will no longer know,
because of Jesus we can start fresh, white as snow.”

The end.

Merry Christmas & Thank you!

The Advent is the epitome of what this blog is about: Learn. Dream. Live.

The story of the Wise-men describes two groups of people. 1) Religious leaders who knew the answers but missed the point. 2) The Wise-men who sought answers and worshiped when they were found. It is better to learn than to know, to seek than to have sought. God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

The story of Jesus being presented at the temple fulfills the dream of a man who served God his entire life. The dream was larger than the one man, it was the dream starting back in Genesis 3. Dreams, visions, prophecies pointed to this event and the result that would occur after.

The story itself is one of life. The author and sustainer of life added to Himself humanity. From conception forward, Jesus walked in our footsteps. He knew what it was like to want to eat ever 2.5 hours, to want a diaper changed now, to see tired parents barely awake or alive come into take care of him. He grew, learned to walk, be a kid, be a teenager, be man. Jesus lived in our shoes and benefited from the whole of human experience under the sun.

The bottom line:
Learning grasps the past. Dreaming sees the future. Living understands the moment. The story of Jesus taking on human form is the key to learning humility. His life purpose sets for all eternity the dream of all things becoming new. From birth to the resurrection, Jesus shows us how to live.

Thank you!
To all who read or follow this blog, thank you! I hope you are very blessed this Christmas. I greatly appreciate you encouragement and listening. We’ll be back next year!

God Bless!
~T Woznek

Christmas Wars: Humility strikes not

Christmas Wars started with Christmas. Seriously, it won’t go away. I’m often perplexed at the media and cultural storm that now boils up around this time of year. So, here are my two cents. Really, it’s one concept: Humility.

God could have, but didn’t…
Jesus came as a humble baby to a blue-collar family, and was laid down in a feeding trough. He could have descended from the clouds in a massive coronation ceremony. He could have burned the Earth and started over with a few chosen, like he did in times past with the flood. He didn’t. Jesus chose a humble entrance, not an in your face approach. Humble family, humble town, humbled form by taking on human flesh, humble birthing place.

X marks the spot…
Christ is central to Xmas. Christ in Greek is spelled “xristos.” X was used and developed by Christians (Xtrians?). Often times, as in the underground church, such usage of abbreviations are important. Even the symbol of the fish came as a result of initials. If anything, Xmas tells me that Xtrians need to get Xtreme with our humility. Also, it should remind us to pray for those who cannot publicly celebrate the miracle of the virgin birth.

Happy Holidays
Greet people in a way meaningful to you and others and true to yourself. That’s humility. If you have a friend who is Jewish, greet appropriately. If you don’t know, be true to yourself. Humility and respect cannot be achieved by Happy Holidays, or demanding one say Merry Christmas. It can only be achieved by showing respect and deference to others or a respectful celebration to one’s beliefs. Saying Merry Christmas only works if you’re passionate about the humility it stands for and express it as such. Attitude counts.

The bottom line:
Christmas is a statement of humility, service and giving. If that is our focus, there can be no removal of Christ from Christmas. In fact, there is more nobility and appreciation for it. God chose humility and mercy to deal with us. He came as a servant, not as a tyrant. Humility strikes not. It foreshadows the greatest act of humility. Jesus took on God’s justice that we deserved. Humility takes the hit for the benefit of what’s most important. Jesus chose humility during Christmas. We should too.